An American, a Canadian, and an Israeli will arrive at the space station on Saturday after each paying millions of dollars for the rocket voyage and lodgings, including all meals.
On Friday, SpaceX flew three businessmen into space in the first entirely commercial trip to the International Space Station.
The guys will spend more than a week in space, escorted by an astronaut, as NASA joins Russia in welcoming visitors to the world’s most costly tourist attraction.
After two years of transporting humans to the orbiting lab for NASA, Friday’s launch marks SpaceX’s first private charter journey there.
An American, a Canadian, and an Israeli will arrive at the space station on Saturday after each paying $55 million (£42 million) for the rocket voyage and lodgings, including all meals.
The trip, organized by the Houston-based corporation Axiom Space, took off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 11:17 a.m. EST.
“That was a hell of a trip,” said crewmember Michael López-Alegra, a retired NASA astronaut who is now the vice president of business development for Axiom Space, after reaching orbit.
Visitors’ passes provide access to all save the Russian sector of the space station, and three Americans and a German also reside there.
For decades, Russia has hosted visitors aboard the space station, and before at the Mir station.
Last fall, a Russian film team arrived, followed by a Japanese fashion entrepreneur and his assistant.
After years of resisting space station visits, NASA is now on board.
Mr. Lopez-Alegria has stated that he intends to avoid discussing politics and the Russia-Ukraine conflict while inside the space station.
He stated, ” “I honestly believe it will not be awkward. I mean, maybe a tad bit “,
However, he said that he believes the “spirit of teamwork will show through.”
Larry Connor of Dayton, Ohio, who manages the Connor Group; Mark Pathy, founder and CEO of Montreal’s Mavrik Corp; and Israel’s Eytan Stibbe, a former fighter pilot and Vital Capital founding partner, are the three paying clients.
Mr. Stibbe showed his excitement for the launch by performing a little dance when he arrived to the rocket at Kennedy Space Center.
The latest persons to take advantage of the availability of space to those who can afford it are businesspeople.
Blue Origin, the rocket business founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is sending clients on 10-minute flights to the edge of space, while Virgin Galactic plans to begin flying passengers on its rocket ship later this year.
Mr. Lopez-Alegria, who spent seven months on the space station 15 years ago, said SpaceX and NASA have been open and honest with passengers about the hazards of flying.
“I don’t believe there’s any haze on what the threats are or what the horrible days may look like,” he told The Associated Press before the journey.
Every guest has a full schedule of experiments to complete during their stay, which is why they dislike being referred to as space tourists.
“They’re not up there to stick their nose in the window,” said Michael Suffredini, co-founder and president of Axiom.
Friday’s launch marks Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s second private charter, following a three-day orbit journey for a millionaire and his companions last year.
Axiom plans to launch its second private journey to the space station next year. More client journeys will follow, with Axiom beginning to build its own rooms for the circling complex in 2024.
The autonomous SpaceX capsule is scheduled to return with the four on April 19.